Situated at a distance of 58 miles from Ahmadnagar, the district head-quarters and 16 miles from Shevgaon, the taluka head-quarters.
Bodhegaon occupies an area of 9.6 square miles and has, according to the Census of 1971, a total population of 3,841 souls. The State Transport buses leaving from Ahmadnagar for Jalna and those from Shevgaon to Bid, Gevrai and Jalna pass through Bodhegaon. The village has a post office and a Government rest-house. Wells form the main source of water-supply to the village populace. Besides the primary schools conducted by the Zilla Parishad, a high school known as Shri C. S. High School cater to the educational needs of the village population. The medical facilities are provided by the private medical practitioners besides a public dispensary and a hospital. A weekly market which is also a cattle market is held at Bodhegaon on every Thursday. The village has become a prominent place of interest, it being the venue of the fair held in honour of Bannumma on the first Thursday after Ashvini Paurnima and continuing for three days afterwards. About 25,000 people assemble at the time of the fair.
Bannumma belonged to a Pathan family. She was very religious-minded and took no interest in worldly affairs. She used to move about in a nude state, it is said and the people thought that she was insane. However, that was not true. She, it is said, performed many miracles and for that reason she is revered even now.
It is said that the touch of Bannumma's hands to the various articles in shops used to accelerate the sales of such articles and hence shopkeepers used to await eagerly her arrival.
The Bannumma's dargah is to the south along the road but outside the village. There are two small sheds in front of it. The dargah became popular with the devotees of the saint from the time they realised that their vows were fulfilled by the saint. Funds were, therefore, collected and with it a new construction was completed in 1945-46.
A mujawar who is appointed every year looks after the management of the dargah. There is, however, no daily worship. Those who visit the place in fulfilment of their vows worship the saint.
The devotees of Bannumma believe that she is capable of fulfilling their desires. The people, therefore, make vows to her for getting a child, for getting employment, for regaining lost eye-sight, for getting relief from bodily or mental ailment, etc., and on fulfilment of the desires, offer her silver image of a horse, a galaf or cash, etc. The cash offered is collected by the managing committee of the dargah.
On the first Wednesday after Ashvina Shud 15, the sandal paste is carried to the dargah from the house of a local devotee. The sandal is then applied to the tomb of Bannumma. In her life-time, she used to sit in a bullock-cart which was gaily decorated with flowers and leaves. It used to be taken out in a procession to the accompaniment of music etc. The destination of such a procession was decided by Bannumma
herself. Since the demise of Bannumma, a galaf is spread over the back of a horse and a flower net held high by persons is carried behind it. The procession moves towards the dargah to the accompaniment of music.
On the next day, i.e., on Thursday, a similar procession starts from the dargak itself and moves around the village. On both these days fireworks are let off. On Friday, i.e., the 3rd day, " hangama" (i.e., a gathering) is held. The " hazeri " is held on Saturday from 9-00 a.m. to 3-00 p.m. when the persons who have participated in such items as folk dramas, music parties, gymnastics, etc., are felicitated by the Panch Committee.
Persons of all religions and castes attend the fair. In the three days of the fair about twenty-five thousand pilgrims pay their homage to Bannumma. The majority of the pilgrims are from Marathwada region. All are allowed to enter the dargah. Some offer goats in sacrifice to Bannumma in fulfilment of their vows and carry the offering to her. Those who come to pay homage go to the dargah with flowers, sweetmeats prepared out of gur or coconut etc.
No special arrangements for accommodation of the pilgrims are made. They camp on the river-bank and those who come in bullock-carts camp in the nearby fields.
Stalls of metal utensils, sweemeats, stationery and cloth, etc., are opened at the fair. There are about forty to fifty sweetmeat shops and thirty to
forty hotels. The sale of " pakhali" is very prominent at this fair.
The main attraction at the fair is tamasha and at. least three to four tamasha troupes (phad) camp at the fair. At every tamasha phad there is a seating arrangement for about five thousand people. There are also other items of entertainment such as singing parties (jalasa), circus, cinema shows, merry-go-rounds, etc.
Those who come to the fair in carts have to pay a tax of twelve paise to the Village Panchayat per cart. A fee is also recovered from the stalls, hotels, etc., at the time of the fair.